Twitter drops ‘egg’ avatar in attempt to break association with internet trolls

The social network says it is introducing a new default profile photo a gender neutral silhouette in a bid to prompt more self-expression

Twitter is abandoning its default egg avatar in a bid to shake its association with trolls.

For the past seven years, new Twitter accounts have been assigned a profile picture of an egg a playful reference to the sites bird logo.

But on Friday the social network announced that it would be introducing default profile photos in a bid to prompt more self-expression, and to break free of the association with abuse and trolling on the platform.

Some people had retained the default egg profile photo because they thought it was fun and cute, read a blog post circulated by Twitters product design and research team.

The new default profile photo a generic head-and-shoulders silhouette would feel more like an empty state or placeholder to encourage users to upload their own images, it said.

The default egg profile photo had also become stigmatised because of its prominence among accounts created only to harass others.

Twitter
Twitter egg avatar. Photograph: Twitter

This has created an association between the default egg profile photo and negative behavior, which isnt fair to people who are still new to Twitter and havent yet personalized their profile photo.

Many users responding to the announcement on 31 March took it for an April Fools joke.

I would, uhh, I would rethink that, one software developer replied to the Rethinking our default profile photo blog post.

I see you put your engineering manpower into the REALLY serious projects, observed another user.

The default profile picture when Twitter first launched in 2006 was of a silhouette of a person. The following year it changed to o_O, before the bird motif was introduced in 2009.

The egg was made the default in 2010.

The new default profile photo was chosenthrough study of bathroom signage iconography, with gender-neutrality a priority, according to Twitter. In a bid to make it feel temporary, generic and universal, it was coloured grey.

Evil has a new face, commented one Twitter user of the new avatar.

Alex Magdaleno (@amagzz)

@design Evil has a new face. pic.twitter.com/09P5YohkvO

March 31, 2017

TechCrunch columnist Fitz Tepper wrote that changing the avatar would not address the real problem of abuse on the platform.

An abusive tweet is an abusive tweet, whether its next to an egg, a silhouette or a real persons avatar.

Dont blame the egg, just fix the problem.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/03/twitter-drops-egg-avatar-in-attempt-to-break-association-with-internet-trolls

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